Vaasa (väˈsä) [key], Swed. Vasa, city (1998 pop. 56,587), Western Finland prov., W Finland, on the Gulf of Bothnia. It is a port and agricultural market. Timber, iron, and steel are produced. Chartered in 1606, Vaasa was rebuilt closer to the sea after a devastating fire in 1852. From 1855 to 1917 it was called Nikolainkaupunki or Nikolaistad (after Czar Nicholas I). It was the capital of White Finland during the civil war of 1918. Both Swedish and Finnish are spoken in the city.